Why Does My Cat... Lick Herself Whenever I Pet Her?

Cat Licking Fur
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Some cats have a curious habit of licking themselves when they receive pets and gentle scratches, while others will attempt to lick the air. A small percentage of felines will even bite or scratch the people petting them.

Cats Who Love to Get Pets

Although it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what a cat may be thinking and feeling as she licks herself, it’s important to note that not all felines experience the same sensation when they receive pets and scratches. Some genuinely seem to enjoy the attention, while others probably feel some measure of discomfort.

When you scratch a dog behind his ear, he may often respond to the pleasurable feeling by jiggling his hind limb in a self-scratching gesture. It's almost as if you’re attending to an itch that he'd forgotten to scratch.

Feline self-licking or air licking is believed to be the same kind of reaction, particularly among cats who suffer from skin-related allergies, external parasite infestations or other itchy conditions.

Cats Who Can Do Without Getting Pets

A percentage of cats may also be responding to pets and scratches by licking or biting themselves (and sometimes even the human delivering the pets) because they find the stimulus uncomfortable or annoying.

It’s believed that cats who suffer from feline hyperesthesia syndrome, a disease in which the skin becomes very sensitive to the touch, may be reacting in this way out of pain or uncomfortable hypersensitivity.

To be safe, cat owners should consult their veterinarians if their cats react to being pet and scratched by exhibiting any unusual licking, biting or scratching.

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